There are two primary steps to designing a renewable energy system.
1. Determine how much energy must be produced to meet the expected
electrical loads. This is called an energy budget.
Electricity must be viewed as a finite commodity like flour, firewood, or money.
A 15 watt compact fluorescent tube will produce the same light intensity as a 60 watt incandescent bulb. The energy you save by using the 15 watt compact fluorescent tube for three hours is equivalent to the daily output of one 45 watt solar module.
Energy conservation is less expensive than energy generation.
Our ConServ and Sunfrost refrigerator / freezers may seem expensive initially, but when you compare that to the number of solar panels required to run a conventional appliance, it becomes much more favorable.
The nameplate (generally located on the bottom or by the power cord of an appliance) may list the power consumption of the device in amps instead of watts. Multiply the amps by the voltage to determine rated watts.
For example, if your blender says 4.5 amps and 120 volts AC on the back, then multiply 4.5 by 120. The rated watts of the blender is 540 watts.
Loads and Operating Time
There may be some loads you prefer to operate from a generator, such as a washing machine or large power tools. These loads should not be listed in the energy budget because they will not be drawing energy from your storage battery. Watch out for appliances that have built in clocks or instant-on features. These will continue to draw power even when you think they are turned off. We call these "phantom loads".
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